I finally peel my contacts off after leaving them on for probably a week too long. I figure out the Nespresso machine mercifully provided by our Airbnb as I realize I left my trusty Aeropress at home. I’ll take the morning caffeine any way I can get it.
I sip coffee and become sleepily aware of the different sounds of this place. I’m not in
Kansas, er Ohio, anymore. 7am bells chime the hour, and somehow the metal ringing against timeworn metal speaks to how old this city is. A bird coos “who, who, who” (an owl? a morning dove? I’m no ornithologist.) but in my mind I’m thinking “what, what, what” am I doing today/ with myself. As I’m writing this, my 7:15a.m. alarm goes off. I disable it and my chest fills with gratitude for a stretch of days ahead of me in which I can wake up naturally.
When landing in a new city, one of my very favorite things to do is to find out whether they have a central market. Barcelona has La Boqueria, Detroit has the Eastern Market. Here in Munich, they have the Viktualienmarkt located just around the corner from the Neues Rathaus, home to their city government and a magnificent built in glockenspiel. One of these days I WILL make it at one of the designated times to see it in action, but the building’s architecture makes it worth seeing any time of day.
The Viktualienmarkt consists of many open air stalls and buildings, ranging from honey purveyors to fishmongers. Pretzels and pastries galore are there for the taking, an impressive array of cheeses are on offer, and of course there is no shortage of sausages. This being Germany, there is naturally a biergarten where you can grab a seat and wash it all down with a refreshing beer.
Spring is in the air and there are special Easter offerings on every corner. I’m particularly excited to be here during white asparagus season, which I’m told is highly celebrated among the locals. The prominence of white asparagus on display at every produce stand I pass is evidence of this. They even seem to have different grades of white asparagus, which tells me this is serious business. My mouth is also watering as I gaze at what I believe are breads and cakes made only at Easter time, including what looks like a giant cousin of the hot cross bun, and cakes baked in lamb shaped molds.
I laugh at myself when stuttering in broken German. Having done well in my high school and college German courses does not compare to actively using it in real life. It’s as though there is an audio delay in my brain, often it dawns on me what someone was saying 30 seconds after we’ve resorted to pantomiming or switching to English. I bought some wonderful strawberries at one stall yesterday, and it wasn’t until she’d already given up on me understanding that I realized she had been asking me if I had zwölf cent, or twelve cents. I confused the mailman by asking “if he was here every today” – mixing up the words for day and today. Little by little I muddle through and try to enjoy the challenge.